Backyard Birds

White-banded Tanagers

The White-banded Tanagers (Neothraupis fasciata) is a South American songbird.


The White-banded Tanager averages 16 cm (6½ in) in length and usually weighs 29-32 g.

It looks very similar to several species of shrike (for example the Loggerhead Shrike), with a black mask, grey upperparts, and lighter grey underparts. Because of that, they are often referred to as the “Shrike-like Tanager.”

Males and females of this species look alike.

Immature birds: the grey parts of the adult plumage are partially or entirely replaced by brown.

Distribution / Habitat

White-banded Tanagers are native to the interior of south-central South America, where it is restricted to Cerrado (tropical savanna ecoregion), woodland and shrub of central-eastern Brazil, and adjacent areas of north-eastern Paraguay (recently from single sites in Canindeyú and San Pedro but historically south to Caaguazú) and north-eastern Bolivia (Santa Cruz). It is commonly seen in Chapada dos Guimarães and Mato Grosso in Brazil.

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They occur at elevations of 550-1100 m (1650-3600 ft). They inhabit areas with dense tree cover, savannas, and shrubs.

These tanagers live in pairs or small groups of 5-12, the average being 7.

It is classified as Near Threatened by Birdlife International given its relative scarcity and the rapid destruction of the cerrado habitat as those areas are converted to soybeans, exportable crops, and Eucalyptus plantations. Additionally, the grasslands in Paraguay are threatened by extensive cattle ranching.

Breeding / Nesting

The White-banded Tanagers breed in October and November. The large deep cup-shaped nests are lined with grass and are usually located in small trees or bushes. A clutch usually contains 2 to 3 eggs. The young of previous clutches often help raise the young.


These tanagers eat insects, foraging on the ground among grasses.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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